Athenaeum Library Book Arts Lecture

Art History Lectures

Bauhaus: A Centennial Celebration (1919–2019)

Presented by Victoria Martino


Tuesdays, April 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30, 2019

All lectures begin at 7:30 PM


Join art historian Victoria Martino for an intellectually stimulating and visually stunning five-week survey celebrating the centenary of the Bauhaus, the most legendary and influential school of art and design in history.


April 2 » Birth Pangs and Beginnings

On April 1, 1919, architect Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany. Modeled after the medieval organization of the artisan guild, and informed by the 19th century notion of the Gesamtkunstwerk (“synthesis of the arts”), the Bauhaus sought to erase the boundaries between fine and applied art and to reform art education.


April 9 » Weimar: 1919–1925

The avant-garde painters Johannes Itten and Lyonel Feininger and the sculptor Gerhard Marcks were among Gropius’s first appointments. Itten was responsible for designing the preliminary course of the curriculum (Vorkurs), thereby providing much of the initial emphasis on romantic medievalism that defined the Bauhaus. In 1923 László Moholy-Nagy restructured the Vorkurs into a program that addressed technology and the social function of art.


April 16 » Dessau: 1925–1932

In 1925, the Bauhaus moved to the industrial town of Dessau, initiating its most fruitful and profitable period. For the school, Gropius designed a new building that came to be regarded as a landmark of modern, functionalist architecture. In 1928, Gropius resigned as director, appointing Hannes Meyer, who was replaced by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1930. When local elections in Dessau brought the Nazis to power in 1932, the Bauhaus relocated to Berlin.


April 23 » Berlin: 1932–1933

In late 1932, Mies van der Rohe rented, with his own money, a derelict factory in Berlin to be rehabilitated as the new Bauhaus. The school operated for 10 months without interference from the Nazi Party. However, political pressure on the Bauhaus had been steadily increasing due to its “degenerate art” and “cosmopolitan modernism.” The Berlin Bauhaus was finally closed by the Gestapo in April 1933.


April 30 » Legacy: The Legend Lives On

Many members of the Bauhaus faculty emigrated overseas. In 1933 Josef Albers was appointed head of the painting department at the legendary Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Gropius taught at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Mies van der Rohe became Director of the College of Architecture, Planning, and Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Moholy-Nagy formed what later became the Institute of Design in Chicago. During the years following the Second World War, the national legacy of the Bauhaus was also revived in Germany.


About Victoria Martino

Victoria Martino is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University and the University of California. She has taught art history and interdisciplinary arts courses at universities in the United States and Australia and has curated over two dozen major museum exhibitions. With more than 60 academic and museum publications in six different languages, she is highly regarded for her thorough and impeccable scholarship. In the area of early 20th century art, she has done influential original research on Lyonel Feininger and Paul Klee, and she has published works on Wassily Kandinsky and Arnold Schoenberg.


Joan and Irwin Jacobs Music Room

Athenaeum Music & Arts Library

1008 Wall Street

La Jolla, CA 92037



Individual tickets: $14 for members / $19 for nonmembers

Series tickets: $60 for members / $85 for nonmembers




Online tickets are subject to ticketing fees.